Netflix Scraps Bone Series As Animation Department Disintegrates

Amid news that Netflix's stocks are plummeting, The Wrap Pro has published a report indicating that the streaming giant's animation department and Kids & Family section are changing for the worse. In reporting that includes a series of interviews with Netflix creators, the outlet claims that ambitious projects are being canceled in the wake of shifting mission statements, and some projects are getting axed before they even make it to air. The Wrap also quotes employees who claim that Netflix uses "staged data" to determine the fates of each series.

This big bucket of bad news comes in the wake of Netflix's dramatic stock drop, which occurred after the streamer revealed it lost 200,000 subscribers last quarter, and estimates a loss of 2 million more this quarter. The streamer simultaneously announced a crackdown in password sharing, and has since floated the idea of adding a pricing tier that includes advertising. This latest reporting shows more of the streamer's seams.

An animation department shake-up

The Wrap confirms that a long-awaited adaptation of Jeff Smith's comic book series "Bone" has been canceled, and says the streamer insists a Roald Dahl adaptation, "The Twits," is still in the works but may be re-envisioned as a film rather than the originally planned series. A series called "Toil & Trouble," made by animator Lauren Faust, is also reportedly canceled. All three of these shows never made it to air.

The outlet also reports that Netflix's Director of Creative Leadership and Development for Original Animation, Phil Lynda, was let go along with several other staff members this week.

Netflix's penchant for canceling series early and often has long-since been widely known, but creators are offering new details about what the process looks like from the inside. "City of Ghosts" creator Elizabeth Ito is one of multiple people the outlet says mentioned the idea of Netflix using "staged data," presenting creators with information that supports their own point and negates the creator's ability to defend their own series from cancellation. Ito reportedly explained that the data shares "what [Netflix] should have gotten for what they spent on the show."

All of this can be summed up by a change in the department's "thesis statement," as noted by a producer who has now left Netflix. The unnamed producer says that Rynda originally told creators that, "We want to be the home of everybody's favorite show," but that in the years since, company co-CEO Reed Hastings has taken to telling new animators that, "We want to make what our audience wants to see."

Talk of a streaming bubble has long-since followed Netflix, and the recent influx of highly individualized streaming companies like Paramount+, CNN+, and more have viewers wondering what the future of TV will look like. Netflix is still far and away the most popular streamer by subscriber count, with over 200 million subscribers.